First non-Western classical instrumental piece on the show this season. Ustad Raees Khan plays a short elaboration of raag hamsadhwani, a rendition that has been done by musicians in the past, one that is built around a tune that sounds very close to the opening line of the Carnatic composition Vathapi Ganapathim. A 4 minute track means that you don’t get to hear a lot of raga exploration, but what you do hear is quite pleasing; a lot of it of course owing to the Ustad’s brilliance.
The opening alaap by Sajjad Ali would have you expecting another mellow classical piece, but that is dispelled in less than a minute when the song launches into a fast-paced folk song, albeit maintaining a loose base on the same raga (brindavana saranga possibly). The feel-goodness of the tune and the flippant nature of the lyrics work instantly, and the arrangement only adds to that delight. Highlights of the arrangement are Taufeeq Tafu’s banjo and Sajid Ali’s flute. There is also some interesting employment of Aahad Nayani’s drums. With about a minute and change left, the song does another shift, to an instrumental segment led by the flute, but with excellent support from the rest of the house band. Beautiful end to a beautiful song.
Za Sta Pasha Mayam
An alternative rock song in Pashto. It is as exciting as it sounds! I cannot comment on the language of course, but the lines I heard here seemed to fit the rock mode like a glove. Possibly explains its popularity too. Strings retain the core of Pashto rock duo Naseer & Shahab’s 2012 original and add a lot of bells and whistles, like the brilliantly placed harmonies, and a stunning solo from the guest guitarist Faraz Anwar. But despite all this awesomeness, the highlight of the song for me is still Naseer Afridi – what.a.voice!
Paani da Bulbula
Abrar-ul-Haq and Strings choose a happy, fun format for conveying the epheremality of life. The arrangement is replete with amusing and “bubbly” sounds, revolving around the uke (Hamza Jafri) and melodica (Arsalan), with some nice touches from Sajid Ali on the flute. Adding to the fun is the fact that Abrar and the backing vocalists rap for most time (did I hear a Coca Cola mention at one point?), Abrar even throws in some accented English in the latter half which goes with the flow. Good song to close a finely executed season!
That ends Season 7 of Coke Studio, where Strings proved that they are capable of carrying on Rohail Hyatt’s legacy. Here’s hoping to see many more seasons of the show!
Top Recos: Za Sta Pasha Mayam, Suth Gaana